Nostalgic Puzzles

Starting a line of "Nostalgic Puzzles"

These are original pages from the December 13, 1948 Life magazine. They are not copies of the pages. Over the summer I had the chance to purchase about 2 dozen mint or nearly mint condition Life magazines for about 5 bucks each. When I saw them I decided I was going to attempt to laminate the cover pages and make some puzzles. But as I went through the pages and saw some of the old ads I thought they would make great nostalgic puzzles if I was able to laminate them.
I cut these 2 puzzles this past September and showed them for the first time at the LI Scroll Saw Association meeting a few weeks ago. These are my first two in hopefully a line of "Nostalgic Puzzles"

The first picture is the actual cover from this issue with the picture of Dwight Eisenhower. I cut it in a long arm style and it has 290 pieces. These are fairly large puzzles. The old Life magazines were about 10.5" x 14". I loose about 1/4" during the mounting & final trimming of the boards so the finished puzzles are a bit smaller.

The other pictures are of the Camel Cigarette ad. It is amazing what they got away with 66 years ago as far as advertizing. Whats more amazing is that after killing millions of people there are people still smoking!

Anyway, the Camel puzzle is 428 pieces. I did some color line cutting as well as some tricky edges.




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General update

I did a presentation on October 16 for the Long Island Scroll Saw Association. IT was fun. My daughter & her best friend came and assisted in setting up and show my puzzles. Also did a short cutting demo on the associations Henger scroll saw.

Spent 2 weeks working strictly on acrylic face mounts. Landed a contract for about 20 pieces. NICE!!!! Fortunately its not a rush job but I still want to get it done.

Mailed Susie Barretts puzzle to her with a surprise acrylic face mount. It appears she was most impressed by the little blond mermaid! I am looking forward to doing a large 500 - 750 piece version of this puzzle. Hope she gives me permission.

Hope to post some more puzzle pictures this weekend so come back soon!

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Susie Barrett Puzzle

I have cut a lot of puzzles over the years but this is now one of my favorites! The picture is a print taken from the original painting called “Return to Paradise” by the fabulous artist Susie Barrett.
The puzzle measures about 6.5” x 10”. It is cut from one of my unique acrylic face mounts with 218 pieces, 8 figural pieces and my AP signature piece.
So I was supposed to cut a sample puzzle of Susie’s painting and send it to her. A sample puzzle is only about 3” x 5” with 20 or so large pieces and no figurals. But before I mounted the picture I kept looking at it and just could not bring myself to cut this as a sample and ended up doubling the size and cutting a full blown puzzle. It took me about 6 cutting hours to complete (as opposed to a sample puzzle which would take me about 30 minutes).
The subject matter and colors of this incredible painting coupled with the hand cut puzzle and the themed figural pieces makes everything about this combined artwork truly awesome. In my opinion though, in this case, the picture makes the puzzle. Unfortunately, (for me) I must keep my word and now send it to Susie.

I will be doing more puzzles in the future from her art. I think I will do this one again in the 750 piece class. Puzzles from Susie's art will be strictly limited editions so best to grab them when the come available.


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Falling Behind

Worked all weekend doing acrylic mounts for Patricia Murray, Susie Edens Barrett and a few other private pieces. Patricia met me Sunday morning at the studio and viewed the rough pieces I had mounted Saturday. I finished all the mountings late Sunday afternoon and headed home.

When I got home I had to do a minor repair on my chicken coop and while bending down I completely blew out my back and collapsed right in the chicken poop in the coop. Getting old SUCKS! Of course there was no one home and I had to crawl through the poop and hobble down the hill to the house by myself.

I am just getting functional again today. As much as I hate it I will take a few pain killers today so that I can finish Patricia's pieces. She is doing a big show in the Hampton's this weekend and must have these pictures. Hopefully I will finish and maybe by tomorrow I will be able to sit for a few hours and cut puzzles.

Did I mention that getting old SUCKS!

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Finally success!

It’s been almost a year of countless failures but I finally did it.  A wood puzzle with an acrylic face mount laminate. For all those naysayers that suggested that my acrylic puzzles were not really a “traditional puzzle” because it wasn’t wood……well here ya go.

Making a puzzle board with multiple substrates proved more difficult than I thought. Finding the right combination of wood & acrylic was the final hurdle. This is because wood and acrylic cut at different speeds.

But the biggest hurdle was finding the right laminate for the photo to wood combination. In the end it was an accidental discovery of treating the wood prior to mounting that did the trick.

This is my 1st completed wood/acrylic puzzle. The wood is 1/4” with a 1/16” clear cast acrylic face mount. It is 8 x 10 and finished with 211 pieces. For sure 1/4'” wood is too thick to work with an acrylic face. The cutting was slow going and finding the proper blade speed took a bit. I started the puzzle in the upper left corner and I was not happy with the 1st dozen or so pieces. This was due to finding the proper blade speed and getting used to the hard cut. But once I figured it out I had no problems.

I ordered some 5/32” three ply plywood and it came in Friday. I did a mount over the weekend and it came out perfect. I will cut it this week. The 5/32” wood & acrylic should be perfect.


 Seagull Landing

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Working all weekend

Good news - I am happy to say Patricia Murray had a very successful show last weekend and sold both acrylic mounts I made for her and I now need to make her some more.

Bad news - Now I have to make her some more and I will be working all weekend ;-(

Working with a new upcoming artist Susie Edens Barrett. She paints incredible abstracts and has agreed to let me do a puzzle from one of her pieces. You can see some of her work at https://www.etsy.com/shop/susiebarrettART

You will definitely be hearing more from me about Susie and her paintings.

I had planed on cutting puzzles all weekend but it looks like I'll only get maybe one day of cut time in. I'm 2 weeks behind on puzzles. I did complete 2 puzzles during the week and I will try to post them here over the weekend.

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Lots Happening

So on the 16th I did a presentation for Gallery North. I am thrilled to say they loved my stuff and plan on showing my puzzles and pictures in their gallery. I have to prepare 3 or 4 puzzles for their main gallery.

Finished 2 acrylic photo mounts for Patricia Murray. She will be displaying them in a show this coming Sunday. I will try to post pictures soon. She is an incredible photographer.

Started 3 puzzles simultaneously. "Twins", "Chippy the Thief", "Orchid Spider" are all mounted and ready to cut. Chippy the thief will be an oval and is now cut to the proper shape. I am also in the middle of cutting a Camel Cigarette add taken out of a Life magazine from 1948. This should be about 250 pieces when done.

Busy, Busy Busy...............


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Portrait of an Owl – Final pics

So here it is. Puzzle # 57-101. Puzzle measures 16” x 14.25”, contains 909 pieces with 40 figural pieces which includes my signature piece. Total cut time for this puzzle was about 24 working hours. At the suggestion of my daughter I added several additional figurals within the owl. They are all woodland creatures. 1 Bear, 1 owl, 1 squirrel, 1 fox, a brood of 5 bunnies and a gnome. Ok….. so the gnome is a stretch as a woodland creature but I wanted him for a reason. I tried to place him with his lantern in a light area of the owl with my signature piece directly under the lantern. I hoped to give the appearance that he is shedding light on the signature piece. It sorta worked. I would have liked if I got his placement another 1/16th of an inch to the right.

There are 29 “falling leaves” All the leaves are basically the same with the exception of the stems. I made sure that the stems were all different so that each leaf will only fit in one place. The difficulty is that lets say each leaf has 3 or 4 surrounding pieces. A single part of a leaf might fit perfectly with 10 or more adjacent pieces but will only fit correctly with one adjacent stem piece. So, you might place a leaf as you’re doing the puzzle and it will appear to fit perfectly with an adjacent piece but you will not be able to get the adjacent stem piece to fit with the other surrounding pieces because you have the wrong leaf. Does that make sense?????

There is one false corner on the lower left side and there is enough color line cutting just to be annoying.


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Monday morning update & Owl Puzzle

Marathon cutting the last few days. Finished “Portrait of and Owl”. Final count 909 pieces. WOW. This is one tough puzzle. Will post pictures later today or tomorrow.

I have several puzzle backlogged at the moment. Not sure what I will do next. I am leaning towards a picture I took which I am going to call “Twins” ……I think. I’ll have to ask my daughter.

Also finished my presentation for the director of Gallery North. That’s tomorrow at 3:00PM. Could be my 1st art gallery showing. WhooooHoooo

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Portrait of an Owl

I took this picture on 6/19/13 and this is the second puzzle I have made from it. I did a smaller version for the Great South Bay Audubon Society last May. It would appear someone saw that puzzle and requested I create another.

That 1st puzzle back in May was 360 pieces. This one will be significantly more. I am looking for around 825 – 850 pieces for this puzzle. As of right now it will probably have about 30 figural pieces as well.

I mounted the picture, scalloped the edges and quartered the board to make it easier to work with. The customer requested a difficult puzzle with many figurals so I have started with falling leaves in the field section of the picture. It is a simple figural but adds a certain degree of difficulty as all the leaves are very similar in shape and size. But my plan is to make each leaf just slightly different so each leaf will only fit in one place.


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"Reflections" Finished cut

Sorry for the delays but here is the final cut pictures for “Reflections”

Before I started cutting I was deciding on figurals and I decided to do birds in the real sky and sea creatures in the water. But then, my daughter gave me what I thought was a brilliant idea. She said “dad, since the picture is a reflection, then what ever figures you put in the top part, you should do the same figures in the reflection on the bottom, just opposite.” Reflections of the figurals! Wow! Brilliant! So that’s what I did as best I could. Hopefully she will never read this post because after all was done, I am not sure if I like it. Since the reflection is smaller than the real picture due to reflective distortion, matching placement was difficult.

The puzzle is 10” x 15” with 622 pieces and took about 14 hours of work time from start to finish. The puzzle is cut 100% freehand with no patterns. There are 14 figurals and my signature piece. I did some interior color line cutting and made the scalloped edges very difficult to do with many interior pieces that look like edge pieces & vice-versa. And with the exception of the figural pieces I would say I achieved a 98% on the rest of the pieces being the same consistency in size & thickness. I printed the photo on metallic paper, reverse mounted it on clear acrylic with a translucent backing. On the difficulty scale of 1 -10 this is probably an 8. The next one I cut will be harder because the sky and the reflection are almost identical in color. I am going to shoot for 750 pieces on the next one.

FYI - The dime & the pushpin are for size context.

I will be putting this up for sale on the site sometime soon so stop by and take a look.

As always your comments and critique is welcome. And please share this if you like what you see.



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Reflections cutting update #2

I finally finished cutting Reflections at about 9:00PM last night. I proceeded to count the pieces and got a total of 625. I was extremely tired and cross-eyed from a marathon 5 hours of non-stop cutting so I probably should not have attempted to count the pieces. I say that because I did a recount this morning and came up with 622. Now I need to do another count but considering I did this mornings count after 2 cups of coffee, I'm betting on the 622 total.

I am pleased with the puzzle over all. On a difficulty scale of 1 -10 this is about an 8.5. I will be posting detailed pictures later today with additional descriptions.

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Reflections cutting update

Cut another 150 pieces today. If I had to guess I am at about 450 pieces with a 3rd of the puzzle left to cut yet. Fortunatekly I have only 1 figural piece left to cut as well as my signature piece so I should finish up by tomorrow.

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Reflections update with picture

Ok..... I figured out this picture thingy so here is the picture of the new puzzle "Reflections". I cut for 4 hours yesterday and I am happy that I am just about half done. I'll try to get some pictures of the cutting up tomorrow.

 reflections-8-4-14-A01-blog edited-1

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New puzzle named Reflections

Continued cutting the tall ship puzzle last night. Decided to call it "Reflections" If I ever figure out how to post a picture here you will know why I called it that. I cut 6 bird figurals into the sky. Then stopped cutting cause I am not sure how I want to proceed. I might add another figural on the ship itself but I need to decide what it should be. One thing for sure, this is gonna be one hard puzzle!


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